The 2023 NASCAR season is in the books, and the 2024 schedule dust has settled. That means it is time to start dreaming about what could be on the 2025 NASCAR schedule. There is plenty of flexibility for NASCAR’s 2025 schedule, so, what are some early predictions/hopes we have for it?
A New Venue for the Clash
In 2024, NASCAR enters into the final year of a three-year contract with the LA Coliseum to host the season-opening Clash. It has been a great revitalization of an event that seemed to be on its dying legs, but, 2025 allows NASCAR to potentially do something new. If they want to keep going the short track route, maybe they could go to a venue like New Smyrna or Five Flags Speedway, both in Florida, to keep it geographically close to the season-opening Daytona 500. If NASCAR wants to get creative, they could look for a place to host an exhibition race in New Orleans, Louisiana, where the Super Bowl, broadcasted by Fox, will be in 2025.
The problem is, there are not a lot of race tracks in the New Orleans area, so, maybe NASCAR could go to Baton Rouge and host a race on the LSU Football field? Hey, it’s a theory. Keep in mind that NASCAR would have to keep this race in a warm climate since it will be the first weekend of February. As a result, keeping it at the Coliseum may also make sense for NASCAR.
A New Venue for the All-Star Race
2024 will be the second season in a row that the All-Star Race will be held at North Wilkesboro Speedway. While this has been a popular move, fans want a points race at the track at some point, and fans got tired of it being at the same venue back when the race was at Charlotte. The race being in mid-May gives NASCAR far more flexibility in terms of where the event can be held.
If they want to keep it in North Carolina, Rockingham may be an interesting venue that should fit the Next-Gen cars well. Maybe the Nashville Fairgrounds could be a classic short track, but putting one race there with a points race at Nashville Superspeedway a month and a half later may be questionable. While North Wilkesboro is certainly an option, it feels like a perfect opportunity to change the venue.
Adding a Dirt Race Back to the Schedule
Bristol Dirt is off the schedule for 2024 with the return of the classic Food City 500. As far as dirt being on the schedule, it was a mixed bag amongst the fans, but many agreed that the dirt race was at the wrong venue. Instead of racing at a short track with dirt dumped on it, it would be a better idea to go to a purpose-built dirt track.
There are two obvious candidates for such an event, Eldora and Knoxville. Eldora is one of the most famous dirt tracks in the world and hosted the Craftsman Truck Series from 2013-2019, but, it is out in the middle of nowhere. The question for Eldora is whether or not it has the infrastructure to host a Cup Series race. Knoxville hosts the annual Knoxville Nationals, so it knows how to host big events. However, its market is questionable as Eldora at least has places like Indianapolis and Dayton (both in the top 10 markets on NBC NASCAR TV ratings) nearby.
A Points Race at North Wilkesboro
Even though the All-Star Race has been a terrific event for North Wilkesboro Speedway, many want to see the return of a points race at North Wilkesboro Speedway. The crowd at the All-Star Race proved that there likely is a place somewhere in the NASCAR ecosystem for North Wilkesboro, but where on the schedule could you place a points race? Maybe it could take the place of the Richmond race on Easter, or maybe it could be in the fall in place of a race like Las Vegas.
There needs to be some tough decisions made for a North Wilkesboro points race to become a reality. However, a Cup Series points race definitely seems to be the ultimate goal for the race, and it also likely depends on how the repave goes. If the repave improves the racing, then maybe North Wilkesboro squeezes itself into the schedule.
An International Race
In NASCAR’s annual State of the Sport address before Championship weekend at Phoenix, Steve O’Donnell did not completely shut the door on NASCAR racing internationally in the future despite NASCAR not doing it in 2024. However, with the seed planted, it seems that 2025 could be the year it happens. Following Garage 56, NASCAR reportedly had discussions about international races in different parts of the world.
With 2025 being two years after those initial reported discussions, it seems 2025 could be the year to strike. Montreal is an obvious candidate, but maybe NASCAR could look bigger at venues in Europe or the Middle East. It’s possible, but it would take a lot of logistics and savvy scheduling.
A New Venue for the Finale
2024 will be the fifth consecutive season that NASCAR has held the season finale at Phoenix Raceway. While the market supports NASCAR and the crowds have been good for the Championship race, the racing product has kept some fans from wanting the race to stay at Phoenix. Now, when it comes to venues, there needs to be considerations made for both weather and who owns the track.
The track has to be in a reasonable weather spot, and it also needs to be at a NASCAR-owned venue. Homestead-Miami is the popular choice, but, the crowds there the last couple of years have been questionable. You could look at Martinsville or Kansas, but the weather is a question mark at both race tracks that late in the year. Maybe the newly renovated California Speedway in Fontana, if that happens, could work as well.
What do you want to see on the 2025 NASCAR schedule? Join the conversation below, and give your thoughts.